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Am I right?

It was both terrible and easy to imagine an unsmiling newscaster looking into the camera, her voice hushed, solemn, and adding a professional wince for flourish: A shocking accident today at the zoo …. I had heard a version of this particular newscast as a teenager watching TV in a hospital waiting room, my little sister hours into a complicated neurosurgery after being injured by a roller coaster at an amusement park in Kansas City, Mo. She fainted while waiting in line and fell into the path of the moving ride, resulting in a traumatic brain injury.


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Years later, whenever I saw Facebook photos of smiling families at that park, I wondered what kind of irresponsible people would take their children to such a place. But my sister not only fully recovered, she — incredibly, to me — loves amusement parks, specifically Disney World. Indeed, when her accident happened more than 30 years ago, there was no barrier between the riders and the ride.

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Now, at least at Disney parks, crowd management is part of the deliberate design of the entrance to each ride. Were we tempting the darkly ironic forces of fate with an activity that was completely frivolous and privileged? The seduction of telling my daughter we were going to Disney World and the self-help opportunity to conquer my fears won out.

I said yes. When the plane touched down in Orlando, I was seized by a rare bout of carpe diem and promised my daughter that I would ride every single ride she wanted to go on.

The Deadliest Roller Coaster Accident in America

My first ride? I rode Tower of Terror like a boss and said so, and then was duly informed by my daughter and my sister that no one had used that phrase in a very long time, and could I please never use it again? As my daughter was eating a build-your-own-cupcake for dessert, the fireworks started — exploding blossoms of silver and gold right behind the windows — and the look on her face was the definition of bliss. I did have a bad moment on the iconic flying Dumbo ride where I wished to be someone else, someone who relished sailing along in the night sky with her dazzled child, not a woman with a false grin clamped on her face envisioning a team of paramedics tearing through the crowd, accompanied by screams and sirens, because one of the elephants had broken off and sent its riders crashing to the ground.


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The last day of our trip we rode Expedition Everest, a roller coaster that, as the name suggests, is tall. Very tall. To me, it seemed like a grander version of the roller coaster my sister was injured on, closed down for decades now, though still my personal Voldemort: I will not say its name. As we waited in the long, serpentine line for Expedition Everest, the people in front of us raved about the view from the top of the highest artificial mountain in the world, and how excited they were to ride again!

Roller coaster breaks down, leaving passengers dangling 100 feet in the air

Engineers eventually were able to free the riders after reversing the carriage back down the ride. Staff at the park in Staffordshire, a county about miles northwest of London, are working to reset the ride so it will be open for guests visiting the park Thursday. The control room called out three or four times assuring them that help was on the way and that they should wave if they were okay. It was pretty scary hearing them all screaming, they were helpless up there.

Roller coaster riders at Universal were stuck upside down for 2 hours - Business Insider

The incident has come just four years after an accident on the roller coaster left five people seriously injured. Some 16 people were on board one of its carriages when it collided in June with a stationary carriage at 52 mph, causing injuries.

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